With the leeway to do just about anything under the sun – and usually in the sun – Jacksonville, Florida (click to search Jacksonville Real Estate listings) is emerging as one of the best places to live in the Southeast. The largest city by area in the U.S., the First Coast standout consists of more than 500 neighborhoods in a sectional layout (and there are some great neighborhoods in Jacksonville).
The most populous city in Florida, and 11th most populous in the U.S., the greater metropolitan area is home to a near 1.5 million residents. The county seat of Duval County, the city situates seamlessly between the Atlantic Ocean and the beloved St. Johns River. For those considering real estate in Jacksonville, this coastal gem offers it all in one place – the serenity of a beachtown, the comfort of a suburb, the pulse of an urban core, and the aesthetic integrity of a historic district. Marked by city-wide preservation, continuity, and green initiatives, Jacksonville is an ideal stronghold for those concerned with growth, variety, and suitability.
The City of Jacksonville is locally known and divided by six major sections: Northside, Southside, Westside, Eastside, Arlington, and the Beaches. The latter is a collective of communities stretching the eastern edge of the city; Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach, along with Mayport and Ponte Vedra Beach, are municipalities outside of the city limits. Beach homes, condominiums, duplexes, and cottages are found on this tropical stretch, separated from the heart of the city by the Intracoastal Waterway. A culture of youth-infused surf, skate, and fishing livens this section. Within the city itself, main neighborhoods include: central business district and eco-savvy Downtown, urban-revived LaVilla, brick-lined and old-school Brooklyn, scenic and southernmost Mandarin, small and rustic-brushed St. Nicholas, artsy abode San Marco, and the four U.S. historic-designated Springfield, Ortega, Riverside, and Avondale, the latter two adjacent and most notable for residential architecture. It can be noted that residents in any neighborhood find all necessities within, including, but not limited to, schools, churches, recreation, shopping plazas, dining and nightlife, making excessive travel outside practically obsolete. Jacksonville real estate options are vast and diverse, and accessibility and walk-ability make each neighborhood one where you can live-work-play.
Consolidated by the City in 1968, Jacksonville’s government structure is hence, noteworthy, and Mayor-Council form is used, with open election. The almost 4,000-strong Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office serves city law enforcement, and several autonomous agencies serve for environment, agriculture, port, transportation, airport, housing, electric, and water relations. The city is served by Duval County Public Schools, with 172 schools, 62 of which are designated magnet. The University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Edward Waters College, The Art Institute of Jacksonville, and Florida Coastal School of Law serve higher education. The Jacksonville Public Library system is one of the largest in the state, with 20 branches. Healthcare infrastructure is also notable, with area facilities including: Baptist Health, St. Vincent’s Healthcare, Wolfson’s Children’s Hosptial, UF’s Shands, and Mayo Clinic. The city’s military presence is significant, and is its largest employer, with NASJAX military airport and ship base Naval Station Mayport.
Transportation is a subject of dedicated and growing focus in the city. The Jacksonville International Airport is home of the Florida Air National Guard, and three other facilities serve small aircraft. JAXPORT manages the city’s function of an international, full-service seaport, which entails a brand new cruise port; its economic impact as a main hub is atrocious. The Mayport Ferry is the last active connector of its kind in the state. CSX Transportation and Florida East Coast Railway both service freight rail. Mass transit services include the public city-run bus service, beach and downtown trolleys, and paratransit. Amtrak and Greyhound also service the area. Highways include main I-95, I-295, I-10, SR 9A, and designated JTB; There are seven arterial bridges mounting the city-wide stretch.
Sports lovers can find refuge. The City of Jacksonville is home to the NFL Jaguars, and several minor league teams that span baseball, basketball, arena football, rugby, lacrosse, and soccer. The city plays host to notorious college events Florida-Georgia and the Gator Bowl. The PGA Tour is headquartered here and home to The Players Championship. Other world-class golf can be found at numerous country clubs, and both the LPGA and World Golf Village are in short driving distance, making the city a gold mine for golf tourism.
The city boasts three main, high-end, and all-inclusive retail outlets: St. Johns Town Center, Regency Square Mall, and The Avenues Mall. Enclaves of boutiques, beauty salons, and gift shops are scattered graciously about the city. Theatre, arts, and music is plenty, with some seven grand venues hosting a montage of touring and city-sponsored events. Monthly and annual blues, jazz, arts, food, and beer festivals, along with neighborhood-specific outings and soirees take place like clockwork. Local music is nurtured and live sounds can be found nightly. The beaming culture of the city is an underground pipeline pumping intellect and creative production up onto every avenue.
The city’s parks, preserves, and specialty habitats are widely invested in, operating as the largest urban park system in the U.S. Several local green markets make use of such outdoor spaces weekly, for promotion of community and healthy living. Main attractions in the city include: The Jacksonville Zoo, Museum of Science and History, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, and The Landing, Riverwalks, and Friendship Fountain located in downtown’s ‘city center’. Close destinations include St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Fernandina Beach, and Amelia Island for enjoyable day trips, and Orlando, Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Savannah, GA all sit in a 2-hour radius from the city.
Jacksonville is a destination, not a pass-through – and to divulge its offerings is to show why the city “Where Florida Begins” should be called home.